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Suspended Lagos DPO Appears Before Panel Over Bribery Saga

The State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Yaba, Lagos has started investigation into the allegation of bribery against the suspended Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the Pen Cinema Division, SP Harrison Nwabuisi.

It was learnt that the DPO and other policemen alleged to have been involved in the raid were arranged for an identification parade before some residents of Alimi Ogunyemi Street, Ijaiye, who accused them of extortion.

It was gathered that Nwabuisi denied collecting money for bail, just as the residents insisted paying money to a police sergeant who allegedly handed over the money to him.

The Punch had reported that Nwabuisi, a Superintendent of Police, led a police team to the area last Wednesday and arrested residents, some of whom had just finished praying in a mosque.

About 37 arrested residents were allegedly taken to the police station where the police allegedly demanded N15,000 from each of the victims.

The senior police officer, in connivance with a police sergeant, identified as Bigi, was alleged to have collected N30,000 from three of the residents.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, after the report, ordered the suspension of the DPO as he appointed officers to investigate the allegations.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the SCIID, Yaba, DCP Yetunde Longe, was asked to head the team.

One of the witnesses, Ibrahim Aranjure, said he was contacted by the DCP on Monday, adding that he went to the SCIID along with three other witnesses.

Ibrahim, whose brother, Sheriff, and two others, were arrested during the raid, had claimed that he paid N30,000 for their bail.

He said, “The DCP treated us well and we were not harassed by anyone. When we arrived at the SCIID around 11am, all the policemen that were part of the raid that night were brought before us and we identified three of them, including Bigi, who took N30,000 from me. The DPO was also there.

“We were taken to an office to make statements. Later, we were taken to the office of the DCP, where we had a face-to-face encounter with the DPO and Bigi.

They both denied collecting any money from us. I was, however, able to establish that I gave Bigi the money and he passed it to the DPO, who put the money in his pocket. The DPO asked how N30,000 would enter his pocket and I wanted to argue with him, but the DCP intervened.

“I was the only witness who saw him collect the money because I paid. One other person, who followed us, also confirmed that Bigi collected money that night. The man said he (Bigi) rejected electronic transfer, saying he wanted cash.”

The Punch learnt that the DPO alleged that Ibrahim was sponsored by The Punch, citing a 2017 report on the notoriety of the police station.

The report, ‘Notorious police station where no one is innocent,’ had chronicled the travails of some residents who alleged that they were being harassed by policemen at the station who extorted money from them.

“The DPO said The Punch sponsored me in a desperate attempt to nail him. I insisted that I was not sponsored by anyone. I told the DPO that he collected the money in my presence, but he denied it.

“When the DCP asked him that when the suspects were released, who brought them out, he could not answer. She also asked him some other technical questions, which I think he did not answer well,” Ibrahim added.

It was gathered that some other residents who were arrested on the night of the incident did not get to the station after paying their way out.

One Nnaemeka Ogu, who responded to The Punch's report of the raid on Twitter, claimed that he paid N4,000 for his worker.

“Had to pay N4,000 for bail the same night at the Area G Police Station for the release of my worker who was raided at Ogba bus stop. That was the only reason he was not moved to Pen Cinema Police Station,” he wrote.

On Instagram, one rahcarter, said he had been extorted in a similar fashion.

He wrote, “Pen Cinema Police Station is a …, if you stay around the Ogba area, I am sure you won’t escape them. That was how I was arrested on a Friday by this people and I was given two choices: bail yourself with N10,000 or be detained till Monday. I bailed myself with N8,000 after a lot of begging.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, said investigation was ongoing into the case.

He declined further comment.

Meanwhile, Lagos residents have commended the state CP, Imohimi, for his dispassionate and prompt responses to allegations against men and officers of the command.

On most social media platforms, residents wished police commissioners in other states would emulate his example to reform the police.